On this day in comedy on August 29, 1993 Living Single premiered on Fox!
The popular sitcom ranked among the top five shows in African-American households during its entire 5 season run. It not only beat out competitors on rival networks, but was even viewed more than its stablemates, Martin and New York Undercover.
Produced by Yvette Lee Bowser and Warner Bros. Television, Living Single centered on the relationship of six friends living in a Brooklyn brownstone. Queen Latifah played Khadijah, the workaholic editor and publisher of Flavor magazine. Her roommates are her cousin, Kim Coles, the sweet, but dingy aspiring actress, Synclaire and her childhood buddy Regine, (Kim Fields), a boutique buyer / gold-digger with a heart. If only Regine could find a rich man to marry the world would be perfect. The quartet is rounded out by Maxine, played by Erika Alexander. Max doesn’t live with them. She’s Khadijah’s friend from their days at Howard University and an attorney who stops by constantly to raid their refrigerator, gobble up their food and fill them in on the events of her exciting days in court. In another apartment lives Kyle (T C Carson), a stock broker and Overton (John Henton), the maintenance man for the building, who were friends since their early days in Cleveland, Ohio.
You practically needed a scorecard to keep up with the various involvements. Kyle always talked trash to Maxine and vice versa until they finally hooked up and discovered they liked it; to the point that when Kyle got an assignment in London, England he asked Maxine to go with him. She turned him down to her regret later. However, by series end they got back together. Overton and Synclaire were more obvious with theirs. They ended up married. Regine finally got a man of semi-means in the person of Dexter Knight (Don Franklin). Even Khadijah found love with an old acquaintance; a grown man still going by the name “Scooter”.
Living Single had an impressive list of recurring characters. Kim Fields real life mother, Chip played her TV mom. Heavy D played her friend. J. Anthony Brown played Overton’s uncle and Isaiah Washington was a lover of Khadijah’s.
Their list of guest stars was even more significant. Sports stars made appearances: Jerome Bettis, Grant Hill, Evander Holyfield, Cris Carter, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jim Brown, Alonzo Mourning, Bobby Bonilla, Cedric Ceballos, Desmond Howard and Deion Sanders. Musical artists TLC, Cece Winans, Gladys Knight, Monica, Naughty By Nature, Tone Loc, Brian McKnight and Chaka Khan showed up. Blaxploitation legends like Melvin Van Peebles, Ron O’Neal and Antonio Fargas had roles. Comedians were omnipresent: Flip Wilson, Marsha Warfield, Jack Carter, Bobcat Goldthwait, Gilbert Gottfried, Rosie O’Donnell and John Witherspoon as well as practically the entire cast of NBCs A Different World minus Lisa Bonet and TV’s Superman (Dean Cain) and Robin (Burt Ward).
The series received multiple nominations for acting with a 1998 Image Award win for Erika Alexander for Outstanding Actress and one for the show for Outstanding Comedy Series.
Living Single had its series finale on January 1, 1998.
By Darryl “D’Militant” Littleton
Check out this clip: